BY Art Thiel 03:19PM 01/11/2019

Farewell to Seabass? Seahawks sign kicker

The Seahawks signed free agent kicker Sam Ficken, 26, as a candidate to replace Sebastian Janikowski, who limped off the field Saturday with a hamstring injury.

Sebastian Janikowski has likely played his last for the Seahawks. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

Limping off the AT&T Stadium field with a serious injury Saturday was likely the last glimpse the Seahawks will have of their one-season placekicker, 40-year-old Sebastian Janikowski. The club Friday signed free agent kicker Sam Ficken, 26, most recently with Rams, to start a competition for the 2019 roster spot.

Seattle will be Ficken’s fourth team since signing with the Jaguars in 2016 as an undrafted free agent out of Penn State. In his four-game career with the Rams as an injury replacement for Greg Zeuerlein, Ficken made three of six field goals and 14 of 15 PATs. One of his misses was a 28-yarder in the game prior to the Seahawks-Rams first meeting Oct. 7. The miss got him fired, which made him eligible to sign a futures contract for the Seahawks’ 90-man roster.

Janikowski’s age and serious hamstring strain make it highly unlikely he will return to Seattle, which signed him to a $2 million free agent deal to replace Blair Walsh.

“I don’t know that yet,” Carroll said Monday when asked if Janikowski needed surgery. “I haven’t heard back on that yet. It was significant. He thought not. He didn’t think that he did something out of the ordinary than a hamstring pull, but that was certainly significant.”

Janikowski made 22 of 27 field goals and 48 of 51 extra points. But besides the miss on a 57-yarder in the playoff game in Dallas, he was injured two weeks earlier when he was roughed on a field goal attempt against Kansas City and hurt his back.

Dec. 16 against San Francisco, he was the last man back on a kickoff return by Richie James Jr. Janikowski made no effort to tackle him, and James scored a touchdown. The kickoff was right after he missed a PAT.

Special teams are an off-season priority for the Seahawks after numerous mistakes in 2018.

“We had some ups and downs,” Carroll said. “We had a great stretch in the middle that we were really on it. I thought that we showed some vulnerabilities late in the year on returns.”


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YourThoughts

  • 1coolguy

    The guy can still kick, BUT if he is not willing to get himself in shape, then it’s time to move on. The team cannot wonder whether he will limp off the field each game, putting the game in jeopardy.

    • art thiel

      I think everyone understood it was a one-year deal that worked out, mostly.

  • Effzee

    Its time they addressed the placekicker position long-term.

    • art thiel

      With a lot of cap room ($60M), they have a better chance to do so. Using draft choice on a punter worked out.

  • Husky73

    He should have been released immediately after the game when he whiffed (which is far too generous) on the kick return. Making a mistake (physical and mental) is one thing. Walking past an opponent running towards the end zone is another.

  • Alan Harrison

    The Hawks got what they wanted with Janikowski – an upgrade from the psychologically-scarred Blair Walsh. There are several good kickers in the draft and only one or two will be chosen (at most). Ficken is a nice little placeholder, but I don’t think their kicker is currently on the roster.

  • Warchild_70

    Watch big Ski from the beginning, but age has caught up with him, years ago. His physic? was always a wonder with me how he passed weight yet he blasted that poor pigskin with a iron leg. Now that I’ve seen his soon to be last kick with a hammy pull I say “take off those spikes Sea-Bass sit right down there in that easy chair have highball and lets talk about the early days in Oakland.” Fair winds old timer, you out lasted many other greats in the NFL.